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The church in the United States has an image problem.

David Kinnaman, in his book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity and Why It Matters, explores the problems that Christianity is experiencing with the emerging generation of 16-29 year olds. He says they “reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians.” The book investigates what that means and how it came about, but before he gets into the details he makes it clear why we should be concerned about their view. “Think about what this means. It changes the tenor of people’s discussions about Christianity. It alters their willingness to commit their lives to Jesus.”

Kinnaman is an evangelical Christian researcher. He cares deeply about the church. He is not on an angry crusade to point out the church’s failings. Rather, he wants the church to understand what is happening in our culture and to learn how to re-communicate the good news of Jesus to an age group that is rapidly turning away from the one we name Savior.

After thousands of interviews and countless hours studying non-Christians, he has discovered six broad themes that name the objections they carry.

1. Hypocritical
2. Too focused on getting converts
3. Antihomosexual
4. Sheltered
5. Too political
6. Judgmental

We may not agree with these views shared by many non-Christians but we should pay attention to them. Perhaps the best place for us to begin is with the teachings of Jesus. Have we discovered how to follow the great commandment, “to love God and love neighbor”? Have we taken seriously Jesus’ teaching to “love one another?” How does someone on the outside of our congregation view us? Are we known as a caring and kind community?

You’ll be hearing more about this book in the weeks ahead. I am convinced there is much for us to learn about this emerging generation and about ourselves.

Grace and Peace to you,